The Extremes of Woolwich

May 23, 2013

The horrendous murder of a British soldier – Lee Rigby – savaged on the streets of south east London yesterday, sparked an outcry across social media that I don’t think I’ve quite seen before in this country. A backlash that threatened to spill over into violent clashes on the streets. This is the dark side of social media. And it came from two extremes, with equally as repugnant statements.

The far right Nationalists used the attack, to highlight their hate for all Muslims, and in fact, anyone with slightly darker skin, as a group. They, in their ignorance, seem to be under the impression that a fringe Al-Shabaab supporting maniac, is somehow a perfect representation of British Muslims as a whole. They took to the streets, disgustingly attacking Mosques and shouting abuse at anyone who doesn’t fit their narrow band of what is deemed correct. Upon social media, they issued thinly veiled, as well as quite blatant threats, alongside vicious racism, that in my mind, can only be described as inflicting terror also:

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But it wasn’t just the far right Nationalists who vented their propaganda, and hate. Then came the apologists, and their predictable attempts to deflect blame from the guilty, onto the West in general. Unwilling to accept or even acknowledge that Al-Shabaab are responsible for murdering innocent Muslims also. They instead choose to over simplify the World, into two camps: Islam v Enemies of Islam – much the same way that the EDL do, only a little more subtle with their tactics. As if believing in the same God as people you’ve never met, in a country thousands of miles away, is some sort of justification for senseless murder. The victim mentality:

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Thankfully, the majority of social media remarks upon the murder in Woolwich, were both respectful and decent, from Muslims and non-Muslims alike, focusing on the murdered soldier. This marked the difference between moderates, and extremes quite intensely. The moderates seemed entirely focused on expressing shock and sorrow at the loss of a life in such a brutal manner. Those on the extremes, did not seem too interested in the loss of life, and the unthinkable tragedy his family have just had inflicted upon them, choosing instead to focus on either how much they dislike all Muslims, or how things like this only happen, because of British foreign policy. It seemed an easy way for the extremes to score very cheap and easy points.

No doubt the motives will be discussed, there will be those who claim Islamic extremism is fostered entirely by Western foreign policy, being as they tend to be, so naively unable to accept that negative and wholly unacceptable interpretations of their own faith might shoulder some blame. There will be those who claim to be “defending” England, without accepting that the terror they apparently deplore, they themselves are guilty of handing out, frightening decent Muslim men, women and children who have done nothing wrong. But it is important to remember that at the heart of this entire situation, is a family who have lost a loved one, in such a horrendous manner. I feel for the Muslim community of Woolwich over the next few days and weeks. The possible violent and completely unjustified retribution against an innocent community, is shocking to the rest of us, but terrifying to the people living it.

“An extremely popular and witty soldier, Drummer Rigby was a larger than life personality within the Corps of Drums and was well known, liked and respected across the Second Fusiliers”

– MoD statement.

I feel for the family of Lee Rigby, of 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, who so heartbreakingly leaves behind a 2 year old son, and who, in the most tragic circumstances, lost his life yesterday.


There’s nothing for us here.

August 12, 2012

The majesty of the Olympics really has struck a chord with the UK over the past two weeks. This has to be down to the fact that we as a nation have absolutely no confidence in our sports stars. With good reason. Every year The Sun would ask “Can Tim win?” when it came to Henman at Wimbledon and every year the answer a firm “no”. Every four years we drape ourselves in red and white and pray to God that England don’t end up going to a penalty shoot out. And every time, our overpaid, over valued, and under achieving footballers let us all down. I get caught up in this myself. So, on the rare occasion that our sportsmen and women actually out perform even our most positive of expectations, a cynical nation suddenly takes notice. And so it was. Jessica Ennis’s utterly spectacular performance at the Heptathlon. Greg Rutherford came from nowhere to take the Men’s Long Jump Gold. Mo Farah became a national treasure for his outstanding performances to take the double Gold in the 10,000 and 5,000 metres. Team GB is third in the rankings, the highest we have achieved since 1920. Our sports stars have a lot to be proud of, and i’m sure they will lives in the celebrity spot light are just beginning.

The organisation, the happy faces, the atmosphere in the country has been buzzing after months and months of grim economic news on a daily basis. And yet, through all the delight at the success of the Games, I cannot help but feel slightly uneasy at the comparisons between the riots in London last year, and the Olympics this year. There are of course comparisons that can be made arbitrarily if we must; both the success of Team GB, and the riots last year caught everyone off guard……. and that’s about it. Comparisons shouldn’t be made between the two.

I keep hearing phrases like: “London needed this, after last year“. As if it is simply a matter of good vs evil. As if the Olympics has neatly patched over the problems that inevitably lead to social unrest; of which there are many. It seems as if the Olympics is being used as a tool to deflect attention away from what will always result in violence. The economic destruction of the country by the current government and a complete lack of opportunity is a wound that cannot be dressed so weakly by a sporting event.

According to the DWP, the poverty rate in London is 6% higher than the average for the rest of England, at 28%. And it’s rising. 220,000 people live in overcrowded accommodation; 60,000 more than 10 years ago. Housing benefit changes mean people are struggling to stay in their homes. And whilst the outer boroughs are cheaper, they have even bigger funding problems; 35% of primary schools in the outer boroughs are overcrowded; 8 of the 10 primary care trusts with the fewest GPs per population are in Outer London, the unemployment rate in the poorest areas are at their highest levels in decades, and The poorest 50% have less than 5% of financial or property wealth whilst the richest 10% have 40% of income wealth, 45% of property wealth and 65% of financial wealth. – According to London’s Poverty Profile. And here is the most telling fact on poverty and inequality in the Capital: Babies born in Southwark, Croydon, Haringey and Harrow are twice as likely to die before their 1st birthday than those born in Bromley, Kingston and Richmond.
So how is the government dealing with this? Well, whilst the riots were taking place, the Mayor was on holiday in the US. The Chancellor was on holiday. The Deputy Prime Minister was on holiday. The Prime Minister was in Tuscany having tennis lessons in his rented villa. And what we have now, is a situation where the government have insisted that it is for our own good, that the poorest areas lose housing benefit, Sure Start, youth clubs, libraries, and all hope that maybe the education system might provide opportunity (the end of EMA for example). All of this during an atmosphere of rising inflation, rising unemployment, a broken NHS, and the biggest double dip recession in 50 years. Any lasting hope has been cruelly ripped out of the communities that are the most economically vulnerable, and replaced by fear of losing everything, and we act surprised when this results in social violence? The riots may have appeared on the surface to be a bunch of opportunistic thugs. But the underlying issue, the social deprivation, high unemployment, high VAT rates, the end of EMA, rising inflation, the mass of cuts to youth services, and the unfair and shock economic violence by a government that has grown up enjoying the benefits of a strong public service, only to loot it when they came to power, thus burning the ladder up which they themselves climbed, is an obvious precursor to social violence from communities that feel ever more excluded.

It is no wonder that riots appeared in London as government cuts began to hit. Islington, Hackney, Westminster and Camden all hit the top ten list of worst areas for child poverty in the entire country. And top of the list? Tower Hamlets. With this damning conclusion to the report by The Campaign to End Child Poverty:

‘The poverty line means that, after housing costs, all the household bills and family’s spending needs will need to be met by around £12 or less per family member per day.
‘For many families, especially those reliant on out of work benefits, it can be substantially less.’

I’m pretty sure schools in Tower Hamlets don’t offer Archery as a subject.

What has the Mayor, or the Government done to change the fact that over 53% of children in the borough of Tower Hamlets live below the poverty line? It is the worst area in the UK for child poverty, and one of the rioting boroughs…… The Government have scrapped community-based youth projects. Despite almost 3000 signatures demanding the service not be touched, by residents. Local community-based services were there to help the youth in those particular areas. They knew they area. The staff often lived in the area and had struggled themselves. And the government scrap it. Youth services; gone. Educational Maintenance Allowance to help young people stay at school; gone. Tuition Fees; tripled. Employment; non-existent. The UK now has the biggest gap between rich and poor than three quarters of the OECD nations. Reuters interviewed a man during the riots, who said:

“There’s two worlds in this borough. More and more upper middle classes are coming and we’re being pushed out. The shops are pricing stuff like it’s the West End, we can’t afford the rents. We’re the outcasts, we’re not wanted any more.
“There’s nothing for us.”

– This is the economic backdrop that leads to social unrest. Jumping in front of the problem holding an Olympic banner is not the answer. Nor is it a way to deal with the problem.

“London needed this”.
Yeah, there’s nothing more that those whose youth clubs have been closed, schools underfunded for decades, welfare all but scrapped and jobs with regressing wages, struggling to pay for their homes love more than a government who spent the entire riots last year, in private Tuscan villas telling them that the wealthy man who had his own stables growing up, should be held up as their aspirational hero. “We know you can’t afford to live….. but at least we won the Dressage!”

We see the the crowds, and the British flags, our Royals, and the wonderful music that this country has produced, and the athletes, and the spectacle at we can put on, and we rightfully feel privileged to be a part of such a great country. The Olympics has its place in the history of London. We should be proud of our athletes. They have done us proud in the sports arena. But it isn’t a bandage for the massive problems we currently face. The deep underlying social and economic issues that lead to unrest can only be sorted via real investment, and a strong support system in the most affected areas. The Olympics cannot do that. It is sport. It does not even begin to deal with the problems caused by an ideology that benefit those who can afford to live in a World where dressage appears frequently in every day vocabulary, and so destroyed the World of those who now insist “there’s nothing for us here“.


Panic on the streets of London

August 9, 2011

Theresa May: We can cut police budget without risking violent unrest
– Home Secretary Theresa May, September 2010.

I love London.
There is no city on Earth like it. I miss living there, every day. There is an odd sort of pride and even serenity in the crowds of people coming to experience such a great history. Watching it burn is saddening, but not surprising.

The riots have spread across London. Tottenham was first, Croydon and Hackney were hit. Brixton rioted. Reports that Camden High Street took a battering; the electric ballroom was smashed to pieces and the stretch between Camden Town and Chalk Farm Underground Station has been blocked by police. Peckham is under siege. Oxford Circus – a group of 50 people throwing rocks at shops. Bethnal Green Road has a youtube video showing the extent of the violence. BBC reporting that Canning Town in East London was hit, with cars smashed on Portabello Road. A five minute walk away from my old place in Southwark, Old Kent Road was attacked. An horrendous fire has been lit at a Sony Distribution Centre in Waltham Abbey. It isn’t just London either. A police station in Handsworth, in Birmingham was set alight tonight, with 87 people in the city being arrested. Bristol is experiencing riots. Police in Liverpool are advising people to keep away from Upper Parliament Street, after violence erupted in the North. It is utter madness.

The motives are of course opportunistic. There appears to be no political motive. It has purely brought out the violent and senseless mob who are achieving nothing but the destruction of their communities. But the social and economic situation in relation to these riots cannot be ignored. We must accept that when one person commits a crime, it is an individual problem. When thousands commit the same crime, on the same day, there is a deep social problem. Certain tweeters have said they watched people looting supermarkets of nappies and milk. The underlying issues need addressing. Many of the Greek rioters last year, were opportunistic in nature. But the economic pressures created an atmosphere where rioting was essentially inevitable. A government who go out of their way to initiate a shock to the system that forces unemployment up deliberately, whilst living cost and rising inflation also rise purposely, is a government that is committing economic criminality. It is similar in the UK. A study by the business information group Experian found that inner city poorer areas are not equipped to deal with economic shocks like that of austerity, because they are still dealing with the after affects of the economic shocks of the 1980s. It found that Elmbridge in Surrey was the least likely to be affected by austerity, coincidentally, Elmbridge in Surrey was labelled as the town with the highest quality of life by a Halifax Estate Agency, and the “Beverly Hills of England” by the Daily Mail. The looting of the public services and economic violence from the Government, will absolutely always lead to social violence and criminality.

Bringing business to poor areas doesn’t always help. This is where the public sector, can and should step in to fill the gap. The study by Experian showed that:

areas such as Islington and Tower Hamlets in London have relatively high business resilience compared to their people, place and community scores.

– Business may pick up, but the affects of austerity on a place like Tower Hamlets and its community, are far deeper and widespread. Unsurprisingly, rioters struck less than a mile away from the Tower Hamlets border. It highlights the importance of the State to provide better educational opportunities rather than taking away EMA. Bringing more low paid jobs to an area like Tower Hamlets, does not increase the overall feeling of worth and belonging. Making opportunities to better oneself through the education process is the key. And it begins with absolutely key programs like Sure Start.

The riots are quite simply, the culmination of an aggressive and regressive social engineering project.

There were warning signs:

Pre-election Nick Clegg warned of Greek style rioting, if a Tory government was elected and pushed through deep austerity. In October last year, the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that the austerity measures would hit the poorest areas of England the hardest. On the earlier point of looters looting for nappies, it is no coincidence that the IFS said that the poorest people, with children, would be the hardest hit of all.

A teacher posted on Twitter:

“Taught in E17 10 years ago- clear this was going to happen- kids have been made to feel like nothing for so long.”

– If people are surprised that a growing inequality gap between the poorest and the richest, increasing under Labour, exploited and increase further still by the Tories has resulted in widespread riots in low socio-economic areas, they are incredibly naive.

We are a nation that condemns. If you’re homeless, if you’re on benefits, if you’re taking drugs. if you’re foreign, if you’re Muslim, if you’re Gypsy, if you’re poor. We condemn, without trying to understand, and yet we feel alienated when people don’t understand our problems. It is true that the rioters are a disgrace to the Country; but the issues that lead, and have always led to riots and rebellions are still not being addressed. It is all economic.

Earlier this year, The Government had planned to cap housing benefit to £290 for a two bedroom flat. Though that is slightly misleading, because before the cap – the Local Housing Allowance was based on the median average of rents in that area (known as the 50th Percentile), now it is based on the 30th Percentile. Which means the £290 is the absolute maximum, and not many will be able to claim that. Couple that with LHA being cut for people on jobseekers for more than a year, and people are suddenly able to claim pretty much nothing. Poorer people absolutely will lose their homes. Meaning, whilst business is down, unemployment is inevitably high, government austerity means people cannot afford to now pay their rent. Social exclusion of the worst kind, during the most troubled of economic times. Piling the pressure on the shoulders of the most vulnerable, is a disastrous policy from a nasty party. If Tories thought that this wouldn’t culminate in social unrest, they are living on another planet; or a Villa in Tuscany.

Labour pointed out rightly, that cuts to the Sure Start program for poorer areas (specifically mentioning Hackney) would deprive a family of around £100 per child. Whereas, in an affluent town like Richmond, it was only £30 per child. A massive discrepancy.

This video accurately defines the mentality of kids from deprived areas, after having been further deprived, of their youth facilities due to government enforced cuts. A girl on the video says that the council didn’t alert the young people or prepare them for mass youth service closures, and that one moment the youth services are there, the next they’re gone.

The Guardian article from 2009, highlighting the apparent inherent racism of the Met was spot on in its opening paragraph:

Murder and racism, indifferent and incompetent policing combined with continuing injustice, make for a toxic mix.

– The Met’s record these past three years has been disastrous, and sooner or later was going to push the situation one step too far. From the killing of Ian Tomlinson, to the kettling of kids, they get it wrong every time, and then proceed to lie their way out of trouble. We have no idea what happened to Mark Duggan. But the silence from the Met is slightly suspicious. The leaking of Duggan’s death to the press, before even informing his next of kin, was in sensationally poor taste. In fact, it then took hours for the family to get any sort of explanation from the police. The Met are shameful. The pressure from the community became volatile. It was always going to happen.

An entire generation has been told that we must own stuff. That the purpose of life is to consume. We are given easy credit to fuel the debt needed to sustain an economy and a prevailing social wisdom built around consuming. People who have very little, who are told they will always have very little, living in areas where the opportunities are bleak at best and non-existent at worst, are still encouraged to consume. The materialist mindset that has dominated all other thought processes for far too long, must not be ignored as a contributing factor to the unrest; this can be seen quite evidently with the looting of non-essential, luxury goods. We are what we buy. And that is a problem. A generation of young people have had luxuries dangled infront of their faces by incessant advertising, only to be told they would never be able to afford them; well that temptation exploded and now they can get those desirable consumer items for free.

Whilst London burns, the Mayor is on holiday. The Chancellor is on holiday. The Deputy Prime Minister didn’t return early, but is now in London following the natural end of his holiday. The Prime Minister is in Tuscany having tennis lessons in his rented villa, and the only person to come home so far is Theresa May, the Home Secretary, whom during the outbreak of the News Corp phone hacking scandal, was being tipped as a possible challenger for the leadership of the Tory Party if the scandal brought David Cameron down. One suspects she is still positioning herself as an eventual successor, given that she’s the only one to bother coming home from an apparent government-wide holiday, to deal with these problems. I cannot imagine the public – especially those hit the hardest by austerity – would happily get on with their lives as they become more impoverished, with the knowledge that the people who have forced this on them, are holidaying around the World and indulging in tennis lessons in the sunset of Tuscany. Though I fully expect Cameron to give a speech in which he states “lessons must be learnt”, without recognising the irony in his statement.

Cameron is proving to be weak. First, his cabinet start announcing ridiculous initiatives without his knowledge; selling the trees for example. Then his Chancellor blamed the snow for poor growth figures. Then he has to backtrack on NHS reform. And now his long refusal to leave the comfort of privileged life in Tuscany, to come home and deal with the mess that the Country is in, after spending the past four years telling us only he could fix “broken Britain” is telling. Britain was fine. The Tories broke it. And now they wish to wash their hands of it. I very much doubt he will recognise the underlying economic issues that led to this crises.

There can be no mistaking that the rioting, vandalism and violence are motivated by and large, by opportunism. For many, the idea that one could get a free iPod by storming an Apple store in an area of London where police are no where to be seen because they’re dealing with the same shit elsewhere, is too great an opportunity to miss. It has no political motivation on the surface. But the underlying issue, the social deprivation, high unemployment, high VAT rates, the end of EMA, rising inflation, the mass of cuts to youth services, and the unfair and shock economic violence by a government that has grown up enjoying the benefits of a strong public service, only to loot it when they came to power, thus burning the ladder up which they themselves climbed, is an obvious precursor to social violence from communities that feel ever more excluded.


The Royal Summary….

April 29, 2011

It is nice to see that William and Kate chose to get married 66 years to the day that Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun tied the knot. And as Australian Geoff pointed out, William is a relative of Henry VIII. We can expect Kate to be his first wife, and for William to try to invade France at any point. James Hewitt’s son, Harry is not dressed like a Nazi.

It amused me greatly that the Ambassador of Syria was uninvited from the wedding. An ambassador of an anti-democratic regime banned from the wedding of the epitome of anti-democracy who are where they are through centuries of fear and violence, for being too un-democratic. It is almost poetic.

Elton John and partner David Furnish arrived at the Abbey. He always gets called “…partner David Furnish“. When we see the neighbour, we say “There’s John, with his dog Max“. Partner David Furnish is spoke of like Elton’s pet. Partner David Furnish mustn’t like that.

“The first ray of sunshine shone over buckingham palace, literally the exact moment Kate walked into the room” – Fox News. Brilliant. The land of make belief is very very prominent within the four walls of Fox.

Here is me. Look at me smile. Look how happy I am. Look how bright the room is. That isn’t the sun. That is the light of the Monarchy brightening my otherwise dark day.

– Incase you’re wondering, the midget on the mantlepiece is Elf Ash.

A woman being interviewed on ITV just said “Oh they’re a lovely couple. They’re so down to Earth”. I’m not too sure how that woman knows the couple so well, but apparently she does.

Why do we still have a monarchy? Why? I don’t understand.

Fox News, in its typical brilliant way, showed a montage of Diana’s face fading out and Kate’s smilie face fading in. I wanted to be sick. I still do. To their credit, they stopped short of blaming Obama for Diana’s death.

Cleggs missus looks like she has JFK’s assassinated head on the side of her face. Perhaps her choice of hat was an unconscious decision, a symbolic attempt to let us all know how it feels to be married to the most hated man in British politics. Like being assassinated….

Speaking of assassinations, Obama is in Alabama today. Or as the rest of the World calls it, the 1800s.

Blair and Brown have not been invited. Major and Thatcher have. The official line is that Blair and Brown are not Knights of the Garter. Though why Boris and Douglas Hurd have been invited is a little bit bemusing. Perhaps Boris is about to become Sir Boris for services to being a massive twat. Blair won three elections. He also managed to pull the Royals out of the shit after Diana died. Thatcher was thrown out by her own party. Major was the most boring man in history.

I like that William is balding. I feel relieved.

There is a man in the crowd with a very funny moustache. It has no relevance to this blog or to the wedding in general, but the moustache looks like a small woodland creature attacking his face. If that isn’t worth a mention, I don’t know what is.

It is nice to see The Met managed to be next to young people, without smashing their faces in.

I hope Prince Andrew turns up at any moment, drunk, with a 16 year old girl on his arm, and announcing that he has sold Westminster Abbey to a consortium of Bahraini business men and that everyone needs to leave immediately because it is being bulldozed to make way for a car park.

David Cameron thinks the hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets of Whitehall and the Mall are there for the wedding. Actually, they’re the people he is in the process of making homeless, for the sake of big business.

President Obama was far smarter than Prime Minister Gillard. Obama clearly knew that this was all just a ploy to get the leaders of former colonial nations in one place, whilst we secretly take back our old possessions. Australia will be ours again. We will forget about this silly independence thing.

The priest said “William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in front of a generous God”. Yes, he’s generous! Yeah but, what about all the killing in the old testament by God?…… forget that. But what about all the wars in the name of that God?….. yeah forget that too. But what about all the people in Africa who were told by the Pope that condoms actually spread AIDS?…….. can you please just forget that and listen to the Priest! He’s never wrong! Oh and then an attack on secularism. Nice.

In the build up to the wedding, BBC and SKY kept telling us how wonderful Kate is. “Look at her walking around and shaking hands. Isn’t she amazing. It’s like she’s been doing this for years.” No one can walk like she can. Is there anything she can’t do? I see her walk and think “My god……. what a woman!

Prince Harry is dressed like a curtain. It has given me ideas for our kitchen windows. I am still annoyed that he isn’t dressed as Goering. Prince William is dressed like Pete Doherty in the ‘Don’t look Back into the sun’ video.

Princess Eugenie has a butterfly splatted on her forehead.

The Dean of Westminster is dressed like a Jedi.

Apparently the Middleton family really annoyed the Royals when they first met. They did something horrific. Something beyond repulsive. Something that makes me heave. They said “Pleased to meet you” as opposed to “how do you do“. Scum.

They have been described as a typical middle class family. You know, those typical families that own multi million pound businesses and live in a five bedroom estate, and a full private education for your kids and a £750,000 flat in London. Ah yes, I know it well.

Is it wrong that when I saw Kate in her dress, my instant reaction was “Miss Havisham”. And just in case you’re interested, Kate is wearing, erm, a dress. It’s white. It’s a white dress. A white wedding dress, actually.

BBC described her as “she looks, behind that veil, a picture of contentment“. I had to sit and wonder for a second whether they said “contemptment“. Having checked my dictionary, and discovering that contemptment isn’t actually a word, I figure that Kate Middleton isn’t full of contempt, with hate behind her veil.

The Queen is taking the time in her bulletproof car to wave to commoners. Remarkable. Those people are mere scum, and she has such love for them, as she waves to the poor, working class feces that line the street outside her home, drenched in ignorant patriotism.

Interestingly, the last King William was William III. He went to war with Catholicism and the French. Before him, William II went to war with France. William I took on Brittany in France. Is this a trend? Is William going to dress like a Knight and single handedly invade France. I once dreamt that David Beckham single handedly invaded France dressed as a Knight. David Beckham is in the Abbey today. Coincidence?

With David Cameron, Nick Clegg, and the Royal Family all in Westminster Abbey, could I potentially stage a coup? Emperor Jamie?

It is history being made. I dislike the symbol of the history being made. It’s a big game in pomp. It isn’t real. It is actually quite disturbing when you consider the amount of homeless people living in London, to see the biggest benefit claimants in the Country have a wedding so lavish, at the expense of the people. But it is history. So it goes…


The Spirit of England

November 11, 2010

Try as I might, I cannot condemn the violence at the protest in London yesterday. The public fight back.
It is easy for Journalists to talk about it as if it is the end of the World. It sells papers. Middle Class England doesn’t particularly like disorder, because it might upset their consumer paradise. They don’t want disruption. They speak about how awful it is for about 1% of a student protest to end up breaking into a building, whilst they do their clothes shopping at Primark; famed for it’s awful record on using sweatshops and child labour. Journalists are happy to post pictures of a student or two smashing a window, but seem wholly reluctant to show any images of Afghan children dead at the hands of the pointless British war machine. Middle Class England doesn’t want to see that, they want to go to HMV and Starbucks and moan about the Left Wing. Middle Class England has a new Call of Duty game to rush home and play. Middle Class England wants to refer to all striking workforces as greedy, simply because it might interrupt their day. How dare anyone want better pay and working conditions whilst you’re rushing home to watch Neighbours? The bastard lefties. Middle Class England, is a hypocritical, mindless robot. The media know it, and they make a lot of money from it. Do we really believe that suddenly The Sun and The Telegraph and The Mail have a new found sense of morality? compass? Their morality is entirely market based.

It is easy for the media to tell us that a bunch of crazed Anarchists took over the protest. This just isn’t true. I am not an anarchist, and I fully support them.
The New Statesman agrees:

Not all of those smashing through the foyer are in any way kitted out like your standard anarchist black-mask gang. These are kids making it up as they go along. A shy looking girl in a nice tweed coat and bobble hat ducks out of the way of some flying glass, squeaks in fright, but sets her lips determinedly and walks forward, not back, towards the line of riot cops.

Most of them, were students who think like me. One post graduate student echoes my thoughts, when he told the New Statesman:

“Look, we all saw what happened at the big anti-war protest back in 2003, bugger all, that’s what happened. Everyone turned up, listened to some speeches and then went home. It’s sad that it’s come to this, but…” he gestures behind him to the bonfires burning in front of the shattered windows of Tory HQ. “What else can we do?”

Students and Unions should now unite.

There is something poetically beautiful about standing by Conservative Party Headquarters, whilst thousands of Socialist leaflets float aimlessly to the group from above. It made me a little bit proud. I hope it’s a sign of things to come. When a Government introduces life destroying aggressive policies, it will also provoke aggressive reactions. Simple protests do not work. They “make a point“. A large majority of the students yesterday voted Liberal Democrat to avoid these kinds of measures. The violence was not anti-democratic; the Liberal Democrats are wholly responsible for the anti-democratic nature of England, and a lot of people are not likely to stand for it. You cannot destroy education; destroy job prospects and dreams; destroy 500,000 jobs in less than a day in Parliament, and expect people to simply “make a point”. Poll tax riots defeated the Thatcher government and brought her down. Civil rights riots defeated the awful program of segregation. 2,000,000 people marched in London against the Iraq War in 2003…… and yet the war carried on for 7 more years and thousands more dead. Civil disobedience works.

The great Australian journalist, John Pilger sums it up perfectly, with:

The BA workers, the firefighters, the council workers, the post office workers, the NHS workers, the London Underground staff, the teachers, the lecturers, the students can more than match the French if they are resolute and imaginative, forging, with the wider social justice movement, potentially the greatest popular resistance ever. Look at the web; listen to the public’s support at fire stations. There is no other way now. Direct action. Civil disobedience. Unerring. Read Shelley and do it.

Here are a few of my photos from yesterday in London:


The London Bombings

July 22, 2010

I am not one for conspiracy theories. I don’t buy the theories that the 9/11 attacks were inside jobs; I merely think the Bush administration were incredibly weak and moronic and did not bother to read up on the intelligence they were getting. They then needed to appear strong, and made the international terrorism problem 100 times worse, by waging illegal wars on the basis of lies, for which both Bush and Blair should be in prison for right about now.

I do not want to come across as a sensationalist, when it comes to theories. I should let it be known, that I have no theory of my own on this particular subject, merely that I find certain pieces of the official story to be somewhat contradictory and inaccurate. The Government’s refusal to accept calls for an independent inquiry into this subject, is dubious in itself.

That being said, i’ve been reading up on the profiles of the men responsible for the London 7/7 bombings, and in particular, the apparent ring leader, Mohammad Sidique Khan, whom exploded the bomb on the Tube train that had just departed Edgeware Road Station, and I can’t quite seem to accept the official line that he was a crazed Muslim extremist hell bent on destroying the West. I know that the video shows him denouncing the West and our atrocities across the World, and that we deserve to be punished. But it still doesn’t seem to add up. Across his community, he was considered a role model, and didn’t seem to care too much about his religion. And yet, the Home Office described him as “serious” about his religion.

The official line, from the Government inquiry is that the bombers boarded the 7:40am train from Luton to London on 7/7/05. The problem was that the 7:40 was cancelled that day. The Government inquiry clearly didn’t inquire very substantially. After concerns about the timings were raised, the official line changed, and the Government then said the bombers caught the 7:25am train. This caused a new issue, because they had just released the CCTV footage showing the bombers with heavy back packs outside Luton station with the time frame saying 7:22am. This means that for the report to be accurate, the bombers, with heavy back packs, casually strolled through Luton Station unaware that their later train was cancelled, then when they realised it was cancelled, ran to the ticket desk, bought all of their tickets, and got onto the train, all within about two minutes. Having done that same thing at Leicester station, which is considerably smaller than Luton, I can promise, it’s not a plausible scenario. The only other train from Luton to London on that morning, was the 7:30, which arrived in London, according to Luton Station reports, at 8:39 because of massive delays, by which time the Tube trains that were to be bombed, according to the Tube reports, had left the stations. The timings of the train, is one of the most intriguing parts of this entire story. The Home Secretary at the time, John Reid had to admit the official report was wrong in front of the entire House of Commons, and revise its original findings to this new set of just as implausible timings, which sees the bombers enter the station, buy tickets, cross the platforms and board the train, all within two minutes. Either way, it’s all we have, so we have to assume it is correct.

They then made it into London at 8:23am, and made it through hoards of commuters at Kings Cross from the Thameslink line station within three minutes to arrive at King’s Cross at 8:26am. A group calling for an independent inquiry has noted that on a clear day with very little people, it takes at least seven minutes to get from Thameslink to King’s Cross. No CCTV has been released to prove the Government line is the correct one. We just have to accept it.

In fact, the only CCTV image of the bombers, is a hazy screenshot, in which the bombers are all wearing baseball caps, you can’t make out it is them, entering Luton Station earlier that morning. Given that London is the most watched city in the World, I would have expected at least one CCTV image or video to have been released showing they were exactly where the inquiry tells us they were. But no, no CCTV footage from London has ever been released, even though it remains one of the most horrendous attacks on British soil. I am not going to give any credit to the suggestion made by conspiracy theorists that the bombers were not on the tube, and that they were tricked and part of a larger conspiracy, and killed later that day; although I still can’t figure out why the bombers all bought return tickets to London, when they didn’t plan on coming home. What I will say is that if such easy mistakes were made by the official Government line, it suggests the inquiry was flawed, and the public deserve a full clear and honest account of the day’s events. Why are the Government refusing to allow an independent inquiry?

The Luton Station CCTV footage, here, shows the four bombers outside the station. It also shows the bomber with the white cap, apparently with the third bar down, of the railing behind him, cutting through his mid-section.

And here is a zoomed in version.
Now whilst I’m clearly suggesting the picture could have been tampered with, I don’t necessarily believe that to be the case. I accept that that pictures like this, go through a lot of compression and processing before they are released. The image may have been touched up to help identify the suspects. I accept that. My main issue, is that this is the only CCTV picture of the bombers on that day. Given that anyone can be tracked throughout their day in London, from the shop, to their front door, it strikes me as amazing that this is the only image of the bombers, and that it isn’t even in London. Their is a slight curiosity to that, which I’d like to have cleared up.

One theory I quite like, but have no proof for, is intriguing whilst pretty far fetched. A year before the attacks, almost a year to the day in fact, the BBC showed a documentary about what would happen if London were attacked, and bombs exploded on the Tube and on an above ground vehicle. They used Muslims who were well known in their communities, to advise them on how they’d cope with the aftermath within Muslim communities. The documentary showed a post-bombed London, and the panic on the streets. A year later, it came true. Almost identically. The theory says that the four bombers were told another documentary was to be made, and they were to be enlisted as helpers and advisors for the day. The credit behind this theory, is that Peter Power, the former Scotland Yard detective, said that there were plans being made for a mock terrorist attack on London………. on that very day, 7/7/05. What are the chances of that? Power himself is a little bemused by the situation, stating:

‘At half-past nine this morning we were running an exercise for a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.’

The theory then continues. The anti-Western video that Khan was on, so the theory goes, was made for the documentary they were told about, to make it seem real. The BBC had just shown a similar documentary about the day George Bush was assassinated. It included very realistic videos. The theory states that all of this, was done so that the bombers thought they were part of a documentary. Hence the return tickets. In fact, it wasn’t a drill or a documentary, it was the real thing. The problem is, the theory doesn’t suggest who then might have been behind the attacks if it wasn’t the Khan clan. There is no evidence, except the very circumstantial. And so whilst I like the theory, and whilst it is filled with holes; so is the Government’s line. I take neither seriously.

The apparent ring leader, Mohammed Siddique Khan is a very intriguing man. On the day of 7/7/05, Khan’s wife stated that he did not seem any different from any other day. He didn’t bid her and their daughter a fond farewell, he didn’t wish them well, he didn’t cry or do anything out of the ordinary. He said he was just going out with his friends for the day. For all intents and purposes, he acted like he would be home later. He then bought a train ticket, to be home later that day.

According to documents released recently, Khan was on an MI5 watch list, as early as 2003. American intelligence apparently thought he was planning to blow up Synagogues on US soil, and FBI banned him from entering America because they were worried he actually might carry out his threat. Not only that, but they suspected he had traveled to Israel and planned attacks there too. That is the media line, and that’s the story were all know. Sidique Khan in this version of his life, was a maniac, that America thought too dangerous to let enter the USA, yet the UK just kind of ignored. Surely if he was that great a threat, the UK would have monitored him a little?

However, that wasn’t Mohammad Sidique Khan. All of that intelligence, all of that worry and paranoia, all of that scare tactics actually turned out to be against a man named Mohammad Ajmal Khan; a British born Muslim involved with a Jihad movement in the USA, and whom is currently in prison in the UK. There was suggestion that Sidique Khan’s movements and correspondents had been traced to a Jihad movement in the USA. Again, it turned out to be Ajmal Khan, who admitted that he provided funding and weapons to a group called Lashkar-i-Toiba, whom were fighting against India in Kashmir.

There is absolutely no evidence, that links Sidique Khan to any Muslim extremist organisation. He was not banned from America. He was not on an MI5 watch list, and he had not planned attacks in Israel.

On Radio 4, a few months after the attacks on London, Khan’s friends were interviewed. Both of them were White Brits and considered good friends of Khan. They told Radio 4 that Khan was a half-arsed Muslim, who didn’t really frequent his Mosque, and was obsessed with all things American; music, film, TV, dress etc. They told Radio 4 that Khan actually liked to be called by a Western name; Sid. His friend Ian Barret said:

“The other Pakistani lads would have to go mosque because their families would say ‘You’re going to mosque.’ But Sid didn’t go,” says Ian. “He didn’t seem interested in Islam and I don’t ever remember him mentioning religion.””

Another friend, Rob Cardiss said:

“He was very English. Some of the other Pakistani guys used to talk about Muslim suffering around the world but with Sidique you’d never really know what religion he was from.”

It doesn’t sound like a man who suddenly decided, out of the blue, that he was going to blow up 53 people and injure hundreds more in a senseless act of extreme violence. Khan worked for Youth programs, helping young people with problems get back on the right track. His job application for a Youth program was published by the Independent regarding a potentially dangerous situation, it read:

“I have an excellent rapport with the youth community so … I targeted the ringleaders and spoke to them, calming them down and offering sympathy as well as empathy. We then approached the teachers and as a large group casually walked together up Beeston Hill which defused the situation.”

According to The Times, the head teacher at a school at which Khan volunteered as a mentor, said:

“He was great with the children and they loved him. He did so much for them, helping and supporting them and running extra clubs and activities.”

Whilst at that school, Khan produced a leaflet on the dangers of drug use. According to a few friends who helped with the project, Khan had insisted that, and they quote: “The British flag must be part of it. I was born here and I am proud to be British.

When Khan and his wife moved house, they became friends with their local MP. This happened, because Khan started working at a new school, and the head teacher was married to the local MP. They were invited around the Houses of Parliament as a guest of the MP John Trickett. Whilst living here, Khan made a positive impact. The Guardian states:

“Few men were more popular on the streets of Beeston than the 30-year-old family man. Recognised by his sensible sweaters and neat, coiffeured hairstyle, Khan’s respectability peaked nine months ago when he visited Parliament as the guest of a local MP. There he was praised for his teaching work. Even now, those who hang about Cross Flatt’s Park describe him as their mentor. He remains the man who coaxed them back into the education system; the bloke who took them on canoeing and camping trips to the nearby Yorkshire Dales; the man who bought them ‘loads of extra bullets’ when he took them paint-balling. Hussain and Tanweer were among those who idolised Khan from his days as a youth worker in Beeston when he had nurtured their love of cricket and football.”

After the attacks the Home Office reported that Khan had worked at the school, but had not been reliable in the slightest. They say:

“More problematic was his increasingly poor attendance record. ”

Yet, the head teacher of the school, after the 7/7 attacks said of Khan:

“Sidique was a real asset to the school and always showed 100% commitment.”

A Freedom of Information request recently showed that between early 2001 and mid 2003, Khan’s attendance was perfect. He later resigned because he had taken an unauthorised absence in December 2004, but between mid September 2004 and November 2004, he took sick leave and provided adequate documents as to why. He seems to have resigned, because he didn’t know when he’d be able to be back 100%.

Khan handed in his resignation, in writing, to the school, on December 7th 2004. That is what the headteacher, and the school have reported. Yet, the Home Office, in paragraph 43 of its report stated that Khan left the country on November 19th, returning to the UK on February 8th 2005. So, whilst Khan was apparently in Pakistan receiving crazed Jihad training, and also being monitored by US intelligence agents who were in fact actually monitoring a totally different Khan, he was also in the UK penning his resignation letter. What is clear, is that the week following his resignation, Khan traveled to Pakistan, citing family reasons. The Home Office report has absolutely no proof, and offers absolutely no evidence to suggest he was receiving militant training. The report simply states that they “assume” and “we have no firm evidence” before suggesting reasons why Khan was in Pakistan. The report does admit that trips to Pakistan among British Muslims, to where extended family live, is very very common. Khan had family in Pakistan.

The BBC then reported, after a lenghty investigation apparently, that Khan had traveled to Malaysia and the Philipines, and had met with high ranking Muslim terrorists responsible for the Bali bombings, and received training along the way. They suggest that his work as a care assistant was merely a “strong cover” for his extreme activities elsewhere. The problem is, the Home Office report stated that:

“There were media reports soon after the attacks that Khan had visited Malaysia and the Philippines to meet Al Qaida operatives. These stories were investigated and found to have no basis.”

According to a man named Martin Gilbertson, who worked with Khan, and had also worked with Muslims who are very radicalised, in the area he lives, Khan was:

……..the one who had to be ‘re-converted’ or ‘reverted’ – as they say – back to Islam first….. he wasn’t the ranting type; what he seemed to want was kudos within the group, and among people on the street outside. Khan’s way was to be a ‘cool dude’; it was all about kudos in the Muslim community”

In another interview, with the Guardian, Gilbertson appears to reveal new information, and totally ignores the suggestion, that Khan was actually a well respected man in his community, by saying that he first met Khan in 2001, at a “at a party in Beeston to celebrate the September 11 attacks.” Gilbertson then claims he was forced to make anti-Western literature and videos for extremists including Khan, when they all worked at a book store together. Not only that, but Gilbertson claims that a 16 year old boy named Tyrone Clarke was stabbed to death because he insulted islam, by one of the bookstore associates and fellow 7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer who was then questioned by police in 2004 over the killing. However, Tanweer’s father absolutely denies 100% that his son was questioned, and sources within the police force told the Yorkshire post, that neither Tanweer or Khan were questioned nor even suspected of the killing. Out of nowhere, and totally contradictory to everything his friends had said about him, and totally contradictory to his mannerisms and his actions over the years preceding 7/7, Khan is now being painted as very religious, very anti-western, and a Jihadist. It just doesn’t add up. It seems like a bit of a smear campaign, backed up by absolutely no evidence.

It is amazing, that this man, who apparently traveled to Pakistan for sinister reasons, was partying to celebrate 9/11, and was hanging around with known crazed anti-Western Muslims, was not so much as glanced at by the security services. In fact, the Yorkshire Post discovered in June 2006, that whilst security services were trying to convince us that Khan was actually known to them, Khan’s car had been bugged by security services…..after 7/7. Khan’s family, according to the Telegraph wanted a second post mortem on his body, by an independent pathologist. The request was turned down, on the basis that tests have already been done to establish how he died, and what kind of explosives he used, and no new information could possibly be found now. Yet, the Home Office is still, to this day, five years later, clueless as to what explosives the bombers used, still believing them to be cheap homemade explosives.

The two conclusions I’m lead to come to, are either:
1) Khan and the others were part of something far larger, and given that they brought return tickets that day, and given that Khan especially seemed a very Westernised man; thought they were all going to come home again that day. They did not give their families one last goodbye, and they all bought return tickets from Luton. They were easy targets, because they were Muslim.
2) Khan was a very very clever terrorist agent. He had a brilliant cover working for disadvantaged youths. He used his money to fund this attack, which would have had to have been planned years in advance, given the expense needed for the training and the equipment. He deceived his closest friends and family. He adopted Western mannerisms, and acted as if he loved our culture, whilst all the time plotting an horrendous and grotesque attack against Britain. If that were the case though, why did he use shit home made devices? And why not a bigger target? If you have spent years planning, traveling between continents training, spending every last penny you have, and you’re a muslim extremist who wishes to cause as much damage and casualty and panic as possible, surely you would aim higher than less than 100 deaths? You would aim for a 9/11 of your own, or even bigger, surely?

What I would like to see, is an independent inquiry that focuses on the exact movement of the bombers, that interviews people they knew, family, friends and associates, that tracks their movements on CCTV, that unearths incompetencies within the security services and the mistakes made by the government inquiry. Only that way will the public be satisfied, and only that way can steps be made to tighten security around those who are suspected of terrorist involvement. The inconsistencies and the unanswered questions should have been a priority to answer. They weren’t, and that is overwhelmingly shaming for the previous government.


The logic of incentive

July 16, 2010

According to our financial experts, the reason we couldn’t punish bankers, and curtail the bonus culture, or slap a tax on banking bonuses or transactions in the UK was because the “best people for the job, will leave the country“. We were told that the market system dictates that if you take away the incentive, no matter how unjustifiably large those incentives are, the best people will all flee the country to some fucked third World country, where oversight and regulation and taxes are low. It encompasses the entire scope of human nature, and sums it up by telling us that monetary incentives are what ultimately drive us, and anything else would be evil socialism and that government should be off our backs but big business should be allowed to stab as many backs as they wish, because it’s capitalism, so it’s okay. I think that pretty much sums up Friedmanite economic theory.

The utterly ridiculous Mayor of London, Boris Johnson claimed recently that a 50p top tax rate, and an extra levy on non-doms would force 9000 bankers in Britain to flee the country. Boris’ office said:

Boris is determined to highlight to everyone, including George Osborne, that this [bonus] tax is already having an adverse impact and should it become a more permanent feature of our tax system it would have an extremely devastating impact on London’s long-term prosperity.

What interests me, is that Boris, along with every other Conservative both here and America seem unable to admit that London’s long-term prosperity was not attacked by the idea of a bonus tax, but instead by the free ride that the Conservatives gave to bankers, allowing them to gamble horrendously, for twenty five years. Why are they unable to admit that their precious free market system failed miserably? Their logic no longer applies. Johnson should therefore be ignored on this one. Especially given that the Tories matra has been that we are “all in this together“.

The article goes on to say that Goldman Sachs would consider moving their offices abroad because of a super tax suggested by Alistair Darling, the then Chancellor, earlier this year. This is the same Goldman Sachs who were forced to settle $60million out of court to stop an investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General into whether or not Goldman promoted drastically unfair and impossible home loans across the State. This is the same Goldman Sachs that stands accused of selling dodgy packaged mortgages that they knew were going to fail, to investors, and then betting against them, making a fortune through it, prompting an ex-Goldman worker involved in the scandal to write the book “How I caused the credit crunch“, the same scandal that lead to Goldman Sachs paying a record $550million settlement after being sued by the SEC for fraud. Why are we all allowing ourselves to be held to ransom, by a bunch of criminals? Incidentally, when the 50p top rate of tax finally came into force in April 2010, Goldman did not make good on their threat. They still do business in the UK. Goldman didn’t leave. The 9000 bankers didn’t leave. The Tories, as ever, were wrong.

Now, ignoring the logistics of moving to another country so quickly, upping your family out of the place they call home, simply because you now only make 1.2million instead of 1.5million in bonuses each year; the apparent science that offering higher rewards will improve performance, is actually flawed and realistically cannot be called a science. It is a manipulation more than anything. A threat. Keep paying us unjustifiably high amounts of money, or we’ll leave, and your country is screwed. It is why politicians are effectively useless, because they have very little say over economic matters. We all know these bankers will not leave the country in one huge banking emigration day.

A group of economists working out of M.I.T and the University of Chicago conducted an experiment using a number of students. They gave the students a number of assignments, including mathematical and scientific problems to solve. They offered the first group a very small amount of money as an incentive to complete the assignments. They offered a second group a higher amount, and they offered a third group a large amount of money. The theory put forward by the defenders of market principles, or those with free-market-failure-denial would argue that those offered the most amount of money, would perform the best. The reality was different. The students offered the highest incentive, failed miserably. The students offered the medium amount and the students offered the lowest amount both ended up with similar results. Both beating the students offered the most.

The economists then took the experiment to Madurai, in India, with higher incentives, fearing that maybe there wasn’t enough difference in incentive when the experiment was conducted on students in the US. In India, they offered the first group a weeks wages, they offered the second group; a months wages, and the third group; two months wages. The stakes in India for such rewards, would be far higher than at M.I.T. Again, those offered the smallest incentive performed pretty much identically to those offered the medium sized reward. Those offered the top incentive, did the worst again. So, the higher the incentive, the lower the performance. Why? Firstly, we now have to accept that free market theory is just that; a theory, and whilst some of it is relevant and works well, there is much of it that has failed recently, and analysing the entire process in this way, can only be a good thing.

It is true that if you don’t give people the money they clearly deserve for the work they have done, they will not perform highly, they will be unmotivated and annoyed. So yes, money as an incentive does work to an extent. The experiment showed that when you give someone a simple task and tell them they will be paid a certain amount for completing that task, the incentive works. But when you give people a difficult task, which requires long term thought, creativity and problem solving skills of the highest calibre, the incentive doesn’t work. I’d suggest the reason for this, isn’t simply ‘human nature’, it is mainly because our society and our universal culture rewards greed and excess and so that trait of greed which exists in all of us, becomes amplified. Human nature is so vastly complex, to sum it up in such a simple way and create an economic system around it, is a problem. And so a highly problematic task, is rewarded in three ways according to the research, and those three ways are personal from than simply the need for money. Those three things are Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

Autonomy states that if you want a difficult and complex task completed, self direction is better. Figuring it out for yourself is far more rewarding than having someone tell you how it’s done, it is far better than having a demanding manager micro-managing your every move. Leave your workers to do the job their way. Social commentator Dan Pink points out that the Australian software company Atlassian tell their employees that on one day of the second quarter, they can spend the next 24 hours working on whatever project they want, with whomever they way, and any way they want, they have to then show their results the following day at a staff meeting filled with drinks and cakes. That one day has lead to huge advances in software fixes and new ideas and creations. This did not involve a promise of a bonus or any extra money. They performed to the best of their ability, without the need for more money.

Mastery means improving and understanding what we are doing, far better than when we started. I read a lot of history books, not because it is economically valuable, but because I enjoy it, and I like to know that I can debate and talk about historical events with a degree of mastery. People add to opensource, in their spare time for no money reward, but because the work is autonomous, and they improve and learn as they go. What they create, then becomes free, they do not sell it. It is not economically valuable for the individual. Evil Communism at work again.

Purpose, is pretty self explanatory. A company without its eye on a purpose, becomes pretty dangerous. Now, right winged economics would have us believe that a primary motive for any company should be profit making. This isn’t true. Look again at Goldman Sachs. They took their eye off their purpose to provide sensible mortgages and a helpful responsible banking service, and instead kept their eye firmly on profit, which has been catastrophic. Profit and purpose should be interlinked. Purpose should serve the community, and not just shareholders. There must be a reason for people to want to improve.

Now, what this all means is that when you combine the three, it is interesting to note that our motives, are based almost firmly on concepts that don’t involve money. Money certainly plays its part, we all want to feel secure, but once we have a degree of security, we are not just consumers nor economic statistics, we have personal reasons for the work we do. If we leave people to it; dress in what makes you feel comfortable, talk in a way that isn’t imposed on you from those above, create, innovate and at the same time laugh and talk, instead of simply saying “look, if you do this, you get $2000, but do it my way. Oh and there’s a really important person coming through the office later, when you see him, make sure you bow and call him Sir, for he is above you.“, you will almost always see better results. Once the boss is off your back and the carrot made out of gold has been put away, and employees are treated like people rather than cogs in a money making machine, you will almost always see better results. The logic is now based on quite strong research. Free market obsessives can no longer claim their way is the only way, and this makes me happy.


Spirit of the ’60s

June 5, 2010

Today it came out, that photography Brian Duffy has died. Duffy is a photographer known for his rather iconic portraits of, well, iconic celebrities during the 1960s and 1970s. His work, along with Bailey and Donovan, defined that era beautifully.

I picture him, in a studio, standing in his flared cords, shouting instructions at Bowie in front of the camera. The spirit of London in the ’60s. His celebrity photography along with his fashion photography, are what I think of, when imagining the 1960s.

In 1979, Duffy became sick of photography, and burnt all the negatives of his images. But the ones that remain, will always be remembered.

Here’s a few of his work over the years:


Sammy Davis Jnr, & May Britt


John Lennon


Westminster Bridge, 1961


Reggie Kray and Grandad


Harold Wilson


The ’60s fashion


David Bowie


Love, in the ’60s

Brian Duffy, 1933 – 2010